NRDA to continue supporting businesses and students to explore vocational employment opportunities

NRDA to continue supporting businesses and students to explore vocational employment opportunities

Written by Lauren Sheridan

Posted on Monday 22 May 2023



NRDA is welcoming the announcement by the Government under the Budget of two years, continued funding for the Education to Employment programme for Nelson Tasman. This programme is hosted by NRDA and funded through the Ministry for Social Development.


Fiona Wilson, CE of NRDA says “NRDA has hosted this programme for the last two years. In that time, we have engaged with all 13 Nelson Tasman high schools, with over 500 students each year involved in many hands-on, career-focused events such as Fantastic Futures, industry taster days and industry field trips.”


“Over 100 local businesses have partnered with NRDA, supporting this programme and providing opportunities for students to explore and understand career pathways here in the region,” says Wilson.


“We know that schools, businesses, and industry value the programme. The announcement allows us to build on the success of the last two years and continue this work on the ground in the region.” says Wilson.


Jacqui, Recruitment Advisor, from Port Nelson says “We value being able to partner with organisations like NRDA to excite the next generation about opportunities here in Nelson. Programmes like this help us to get exposure to a workforce already here in the region.”


Andrea, Careers Coordinator from Nayland College says “Our students really benefit from seeing the work first-hand and through the programme, they are exposed to amazing opportunities.”


Gareth Power Gordon, NRDA’s Manager Regional Strategy and Investment, says that Education to Employment aims to increase the number of young people taking up vocational education and training. “We know we have skills shortages in industries such as forestry, the blue economy and construction. This programme provides practical opportunities to strengthen the connection between schools and students, with business and industry.


“We know we have low productivity and low wages compared to the rest of New Zealand, and a high reliance on migrant labour. This programme forms part of the work NRDA is doing to tackle these challenges. It provides exposure to young people considering their future, hopefully inspiring them to consider a vocational career in the region and contribute to our regional economy,” says Power Gordon.


On the budget more generally, NRDA is keen to identify opportunities for regional development which does not feature strongly.  “This is disappointing at a time when local councils are so stretched for funds, and we face significant challenges in low productivity, low wages and housing affordability.  We are very keen to now investigate with Government any economic development opportunities in the budget for our region, particularly under the Industry Transformation Plans (Horticulture, Digital, Tourism), the Ocean Science and Innovation Hub, and Tourism infrastructure.” says Wilson. 



For more information, please contact Fiona Wilson, CE,

For more information about the wide-ranging Workforce and Skills programmes NRDA provides, please click here.

Image credit: Te Pūkenga | NMIT